Letter to the Editor: NEK an Area of Optimism, by Rick Desrochers

in Letter to the Editor

People are always wondering the “what if’s” or what something will become. Or the power of working together to make a place better. We all have our differences, but we can make a “something” even more special. Remember “We the People.”

So here it goes, and you may be wondering what that is all about. The NEK, the beauty, the people and the places.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s things were good for the most part for the area, but times were changing and nobody had an idea of how big those changes would be.

Remember what we had in the area for employment, from Ethan Allen, Indian Head Plywood, Bogner, Slalom Ski Wear, The Mill in North Troy, Prouty and Miller, Newport Furniture, Butterfields, Kraft in Troy.

Yes, we do have some of these businesses left, but names have changed. Remember also the places that we could go, to Winee’s World, Drive In Movie Theater, Arcade in Newport, or walking downtown Newport, or Barton and all the business’s knowing just about everyone walking through the doors. Those were the times!

Remember all the places that someone could go have some great food, Nips, A&W, B&W, Village Pizza, Eastside, Long Branch, Franks, The Landing, Santoros, The Old Bobbin Mill, Heermansmith Farm Inn. Wow, I could go on and on about the different places of employment and restaurants.

I think back on so many of those fond memories and times past and realize that if we keep thinking of the past, we can’t move on to the future. Yes, times are changing and we have to adapt to those changes. Yes, we have a hole in the ground; that is called opportunity. Opportunity to make something that was great in the past, better in the future.

Businesses are closing in a large part due to society changing. What do I mean by that? Well, the computer age, where you can get something delivered to your door without leaving your home. The internet is playing a huge role in changing our downtown areas.

We should bring restaurants, the arts and specialty stores to Main Street. We need to stop turning our backs to the lake and face it.

We need to work on getting industry to this area, to get this area moving forward. With bringing industry it will open up for tourism, filling the hotels and B&B’s, to people buying certain things in the area, or just going out for something to eat.

We have an amazing Career Center, we have an amazing community. We have so many groups here that are doing good things, but we have to make this about community.

To attract people to the area to have something to do and not just pass through. We have an opportunity with the Bluff Side Farm or figuring out how to get a Museum open with Mr. Webster’s Antiques.

When the small dairy farms started going out of business, we had no idea of the consequences of what it would do to the NEK. I go through small and large towns and see general stores that were once bustling with farmers coming in for coffee, to talk, or something to eat. I see towns that had farm equipment dealers and car dealers, now lay dormant.

I know this sounds sad and is very sad to see, but I see some of the younger generation starting to open up small farms again.

I also see opportunity in these businesses that once were, as not just an empty business, but what it could be.

The NEK has always been changing, it has evolved from logging communities to bustling towns and cities during the early and mid-20th century, to now a grand opportunity to make this special area, even better.

This whole area of the NEK has a grand opportunity to be better, but this is going to take all the communities to come together for a common goal and that is to make this area better for the future generations.

This is not going to be done with meetings after meetings, this is going to take putting plans in actions and making those actions happen.

Are you on Instagram? Cool. So are we. CLICK HERE to follow us for a behind the scenes look at Newport Dispatch.